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14 Useful Mobile Apps for Walking New York City

Texting and walking at the same time is wrong. Talking on the phone while strolling down the street is wrong. Leaving the sidewalk to stop and consult the information on a cellphone, preferably while alone, is OK.

What's on Walking Off the Big Apple's iPhone: A List

Walkmeter GPS Walking Stopwatch for Fitness and Weight Loss. While out walking, Walkmeter tracks routes, time, speed, and elevation. This is an excellent app for recording improvised or impromptu strolls, especially with many unplanned detours. The GPS function maps out the actual route. The app keeps a running tally of calories burned while walking, useful for weight loss goals. Another welcome feature is the ability to switch over to other modes of activity, including cycling. An indispensable app for city walkers. $4.99 

New York City Compass, designed by Francesco Bertelli, is an elegant compass calibrated for Manhattan, with indications for Uptown, East Side, Downtown, and West Side. While facing a certain direction, the letters will turn blue. This comes in handy when stepping out into an unfamiliar neighborhood from the subway. Back in the day, all you ever needed to know about New York City could be summed in the words Uptown, East Side, Downtown, and West Side. We should go back to this way again. No more contrived names for neighborhoods. When you're watching Mad Men, for example, and someone says they're going downtown, you know exactly what that means.* Free.

NYCMate, with subway and bus maps for all the boroughs, is easier to read and use than many of the other transit maps. Free.

NYC Way could be described as an app of apps, because it contains multiple applications - everything from a list of nearby restaurants to nearby public restrooms to Wifi locations to street food. Some of the restaurant information is out of date, but it's hard to keep up a current data base with new restaurants opening and old ones closing. Favorites here include the list of free things and nearby art galleries. Free.

Urbanspoon, a longtime popular iPhone app, still comes in handy when deciding upon a restaurant. With variables for type of cuisine, neighborhood, and price, Urbanspoon spins its magic and comes up with a suggested place. Don't care for the selection? Spin again, or just shake the whole phone. Sometimes, the list of restaurants is not extensive or selected eateries are squeezed into the wrong category, but at least the app helps expand a list of options for dining out.

NYC Tip, another simple app from Francesco Bertelli. Easy way to calculate 15%, 18%, or 20% tips on a meal and split the bill by up to five people. Free.

Open Table, the website that allows diners to search and place reservations for restaurants, eventually accumulating redeemable points, has an attractive app with thumbnail pix of restaurants, availability for tables by time slot, distance, pricing information, diner reviews, and sometimes the actual menu. Click on an available opening, and you're set for dinner. Free.

TWC Max. The Weather Channel 's enhanced app (Max) is most useful for times of inclement weather. The "Explore Map" function gives a sense of any precipitation headed your way. $3.99

NiteLite NYC. Charming and simple app featuring the illuminated colors of the Empire State Building with a note on the significance of the color display from day to day. $2.99

Twitter. The app from the popular social networking site. Follow the right people and institutions, and you get a terrific source of local news and timely event reminders, as well as an engaging social media site. Free.

NY Phil. From the New York Philharmonic, a handy preview of musical happenings along with music, videos, and events. On demand streaming of weekly radio broadcasts. Free.

MoMA. Useful calendar of daily events at the Museum of Modern Art, with the function to "Pick a Day" for advance planning. Also included are overviews of special exhibitions, audio mobile tours, art terminology, film schedules, and more. Free.

On the row second to bottom, notice four iPhone camera apps are displayed, including Hipstamatic and CameraBag. I'll count these as #13 and #14. I also like Format126, and Lo-Mob. These are a few of the versatile photography apps for creative image-making on a camera phone.

Prices for apps were current as of September 7, 2010.

Screenshot image by Walking Off the Big Apple. * "Downtown" in Mad Men usually signifies a lack of social convention, often manifest in its symptoms - free love, illegal drugs, anti-capitalism, and experimental cinema.

NOTE: As of December  17, 2010, Walking Off the Big Apple has been fully mobilized. Type in this site's URL address into your phone or do a search for "Walking Off the Big Apple," and find an easy-to-read streamlined version. The embedded maps, where applicable, come in handy on the streets.

Read a post just on camera apps for the iPhone.









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